THE Southend Half Marathon is set to go ahead for the 24th year in succession this weekend.

Thousands of keen runners will be put through their paces and pounding the pavement on Sunday.

The event will raise vital funds for Havens Hospices and Jane Hopkins is looking forward to seeing the athletes out in force.

Havens Hospices’ events fundraiser said: “We are really looking forward to cheering on all the runners at the 24th Southend Half Marathon.

“On behalf of Havens Hospices, I would like to thank everyone who supports this event - the runners, all their friends and family who come and cheer and, of course, the fantastic residents and business owners along the route who allow us to run through their streets.

“All of you are ‘Making every day count’ for adults, babies, children and young people across Essex.”

This year the charity - which includes Fair Havens Hospice, Little Havens Hospice and The J’s Hospice - is introducing a range of initiatives to make the race greener in line with its long-term commitment to the environment.

All bottles, plastic and paper cups at the water stations will be recycled. It has also changed the way it operates the water stations and has reduced the number of water stations to cut down on waste.

However, runners will still pass a water station 10 times along the route.

While the charity will not be giving out goody bags at the finish line this year, unique trophies which have been kindly donated by one of the Day Hospice volunteers and made from recycled bank teller desks will be on offer.

And Hopkins is hoping the competitors this about the environment as they prepare for the race, which will start and finish at Shoeburyness East Beach.

Hopkins added: “This year we have made some changes to the way we run this event as part of phase one of our commitment to helping the environment.

“While we’ll have a dedicated team of recycling volunteers working hard throughout the day to help reduce our impact on the planet, we are also asking our runners and spectators to help us make this event as green as possible by using the right bins when throwing away any rubbish and to use public transport or car share to get to the event.”

The Southend Half Marathon will result in some road closures in the local area.

Registration to sign up on the day will be open from 8am for an additional £5 charge.